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I Belong

Review: The Replaced by Kimberly Derting

March 28th, 2015 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Kaitlin under Review Tags: Kimberly Derting, Review, Science Fiction, The Replaced, The Taking Series, Young Adult

The Replaced KDTitleThe Replaced

AuthorKimberly Derting

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Series: Taking (Book #2)

Publication Date: April 28, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages

ISBN-10: 006229363X (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062293633 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin


The gripping second installment in the Taking trilogy is perfect for fans of The Fifth Wave and the Body Finder series. Explosive and romantic, with creepy, otherworldly elements and twisty, psychological thrills, The Replaced will have you questioning what exactly it means to be human.

Kyra hasn’t been the same since she returned from her mysterious five-year disappearance. Now, on the run from the NSA, Kyra is forced to hide out with others who, like her, have been Returned. Yet she is determined to find Tyler, the boy she loves who was also abducted . . . all because of her. When her group intercepts a message that Tyler might still be alive, Kyra risks everything to get him back. But he is being held by a shadowy government organization that experiments on the Returned, and going after him puts the rest of the group in danger. Even if Kyra gets Tyler back, the fight to save him—and the rest of the Returned—is just beginning.

Quick & Dirty: Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this novel as much as I did the previous one. I couldn’t connect with the main character and resented the extra love interest who was added in.

Opening SentenceDead.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Spoilers for the first book! In The Taking, Kira realized that aliens abducted her and took five years from her. She’s not the only one who’s been stolen away, but she is the only one who has been gone longer than a couple days. When Tyler was infected by the fatal disease in her blood, she took the last chance she had to save him, and tried to give him to the aliens in the hopes they could heal him. It worked, and he, too, was taken. But it’s been weeks without sign of him and Kira is crazy with worry. Not only that, but she’s beginning to realize what makes her different from the rest of the returned. She has a mysterious power that she finds hard to control and her old nemesis seems resistant to all her attempts to assuage him. To find Tyler, Kira will do whatever it takes. But when she finds him, will he be the same?

I read The Taking last year. I had been intrigued by the original plotline and awesome main character, Kira, and loved the romance with Tyler. When I got the opportunity to review The Replaced, I scooped it up, excited to continue the story. In the first, it was a nice entry into the series, but there was a lot of information left out. Why are the aliens taking humans? What do they plan to do with the returned? I was excited to answer a couple of those questions in the sequel. Although there was a couple questions answered, there were more that developed, and I’m not sure how everything could be answered in a third book. In the end, it was an okay read, but I think I enjoyed The Taking more: I’m not sure what it was, but I didn’t find The Replaced as gripping as The Taking was, or engaging.

Kira is still a badass heroine, but I didn’t care for her as much this book. In book one, I felt connected to her plight. The book moved at a steady pace and her emotions were easy to sink into. This novel, I found that the pace was less stable and more action packed, and that Kira was harder for me to connect with for whatever reason. One thing I did like about her in the story was her powers. She was watching them develop and doing her best to control them but was having difficulties. Through all of that she remained determined to figure them out in order to be safe around her friends and loved ones. I think my lack of connection to Kira was a major reason that this book fell a little flat for me, especially when I expected so much after the killer first novel.

In The Taking, I loved her love interest, Tyler. He was sweet, friendly, and he was a good listener. He would do anything for Kira. Their relationship developed adorably and I totally approved. Unfortunately, in this novel, something of a love triangle springs up which annoyed to me no end. I didn’t even like the guy who was the second option, Simon. It was basically “since Tyler isn’t around I guess you’re a good second choice!” I mean, come on. Tyler never would have given up on Kira were it him in her shoes and he deserved that kind of loyalty from her. At least wait a year or two before moving on, not months. This really messed up how I looked at Kira, and I lost respect for her the instant she began to feel something for him.

For all my complaining, there were things I enjoyed about this book. You finally realize what happened to Kira up there and the difference between her and the other returned. There are a couple other questions answered, and a nifty cliffhanger sets up a next book nicely. There were some good action scenes and a couple big revelations, though they were somewhat predictable. Nevertheless, I felt let down by this novel. The writing felt simpler in a way and the whole book was more rushed. I get that the story has to speed up book two, but I wish that I could have followed along better. One thing that I will say is that the cover to The Replaced is as gorgeous as The Takings was and you should try it out if you liked the first book, if only for the cover. Maybe your feelings will be different!

Notable Scene:

Where were the fireflies when you needed them?

“Get off at the next exit!” Jeff announced franticly from the front seat. He snapped the laptop shut and was waving wildly toward the right side of the jam-packed highway. “Get over! Start signaling now. We need to get off as soon as possible!”

This couldn’t be good. “Why? What is it?”

“It’s us,” Jett answered, twisting in his seat so her could face us all. “They’ve got roadblocks up ahead and they’re looking for us.”

The Taking Series:

1. The Taking

2. The Replaced


FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of The Replaced. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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Review: Blackbird by Anna Carey

March 27th, 2015 @ 12:02 am
Posted by Kaitlin under Review Tags: Anna Carey, Blackbird, Blackbird Duology, Review, Thriller, Young Adult


AuthorAnna Carey

GenreYA Thriller

SeriesBlackbird (Book #1)

Publication Date: September 16, 2014

FormatHardcover, 256 Pages

ISBN-100062299735 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13978-0062299734 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed byKaitlin


From the author of the Eve trilogy comes the breathless story of a girl racing to figure out who she is—and how to stay alive. When a nameless girl wakes up on the subway tracks, she knows only one thing for sure: people want her dead. Can she find them before they track her down? This pulse-pounding contemporary thriller is perfect for fans of The Maze RunnerThe Darkest Minds, and Legend.

Things I Know Are True:

  • I am in Los Angeles
  • I woke up on the train tracks at the Vermont/Sunset station
  • I am a teenage girl
  • I have long black hair
  • I have a bird tattoo on the inside of my right wrist with the letters and numbers FNV02198
  • People are trying to kill me

Quick & DirtyMy expectations weren’t high, but this suspenseful novel surprised me with its grit and originality.

Opening SentenceThe sun holds the heat of the sun, even an hour after it has sunk beneath the pavement, pushing its way below the sprawling city.


The Review:

I’ll admit that I have been holding off on reading Blackbird. Bad review after bad review rolled through my Twitter feed and the Goodreads page, making me hesitant to even crack the cover. Anyway, it’s less than 300 pages, and I’m adventurous, so I decided to power through so that I could write my review and be done. I was prepared for the absolute worst: shaky narrative, unexplained mysteries, plot holes. Instead, I found myself enjoying the first half. I wondered, will it go downhill from here? But in my mind it got better. It was unique, incredibly creepy, and gave me nightmares (yay!). I couldn’t help but enjoy the main character’s struggle and for me, the second person narrative style actually helped me to connect with the MC. True, I wish she had more depth, but her feelings of fear, angst, and anger are well done, and that’s what she feels the majority of the book. One little tidbit I disliked was that the whole book, she never learned her real name. Like, ever. Mostly the side characters think about her as “the girl” when they get their side chapters. She goes by Sunny a couple times, so I’ll call her Sunny in the review for the sake of convenience.

Ben was the love interest for book one, though it wasn’t a very deep romance. It was more of a fling, something to take up the time where Sunny wasn’t being chased by maniacs with secrets. She liked him for his body, and he said a few cute lines, but in the end it isn’t a relationship built to last. I doubt that they will stay together book two, though I can’t say for sure, after such a Ben-related-twist at the end. There was also the question of the boy in her few memories, the one who was protecting and kissing her. I am positive that book two will delve more into their relationship and I look forward to it with their history. In book two, I also look forward to Sunny getting back more of her memories and learning more about how the Island operates. I actually am excited for the sequel, because there are a couple burning questions I still have.

Lots of people found the second person narrative style to be hard to read. Instead of, “I put the book down”, or “she put the book down”, it’s “you put the book down.” It’s not easy to get used to, that’s for sure. But once I got past a couple chapters I felt myself sinking more into the perspective and I believe it allowed for more suspense and a closer relationship with the main character. The book was paced well, not too fast, not too slow, never a second of peace. Just when you thought the pace was slowing, bam! Another bomb dropped and you find the chapters of this short novel fly past. At least, for me. I seem to be the black sheep for this novel. Baaaaa.

Altogether, this novel was a lot of fun to read, a whirlwind of suspense and action. I was a little put off by a couple of things, such as the number of questions left unanswered and the lack of much positive emotion. It was a very dark read. The second person style didn’t bother me at all, though many had much more trouble than I did, and the plotline was unique and complex without many plot holes. I do wish the cover was more satisfying: the colors are very powerful but the graphic just isn’t visually appealing to me. Maybe it was my extremely low expectations that made me enjoy it so much more. After all, I expected to have to forge through like a determined soldier rather than enjoy the ride. Either way, I would recommend the book to anyone looking for dark, suspenseful mysterious with a little twist. If you’re the kind of person who is put off by second person, however, skip it; it’s not worth all the angst.

Notable Scene:

It was real, you think, it happened.

But when you turn around the narrow alley is deserted. Not a single car is in the parking garage. There is only that shallow wash of blood and the rush of the freeway above.

The Blackbird Duology:

1. Blackbird

2. Deadfall (June 16, 2015)


FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Blackbird. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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Review: Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard

March 27th, 2015 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Kristie under Review Tags: Contemporary Romance, Gabriel's Inferno, Gabriel's Inferno Trilogy, Sylvain Reynard

gabriels infernoTitle: Gabriel’s Inferno

Author: Sylvain Reynard

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Gabriel’s Inferno (Book #1)

Publication Date: September 4, 2012

Format: Paperback, 545 Pages

ISBN-10: 042526596X (Berkley/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0425265963 (Berkley/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Kristie


From national bestselling author Sylvain Reynard comes the haunting, unforgettable tale of one man’s salvation and one woman’s sensual awakening . . .

Enigmatic and sexy, Professor Gabriel Emerson is a well-respected Dante specialist by day, but by night he devotes himself to an uninhibited life of pleasure. He uses his notorious good looks and sophisticated charm to gratify his every whim, but is secretly tortured by his dark past and consumed by the profound belief that he is beyond all hope of redemption.

When the sweet and innocent Julia Mitchell enrolls as his graduate student, his attraction and mysterious connection to her not only jeopardizes his career, but sends him on a journey in which his past and his present collide.

An intriguing and sinful exploration of seduction, forbidden love, and redemption, Gabriel’s Inferno is a captivating and wildly passionate tale of one man’s escape from his own personal hell as he tries to earn the impossible—forgiveness and love.

Quick & Dirty: Gabriel’s Inferno is a Professor/Student relationship that spends more time exploring the past and setting up a relationship that is quite anti-climactic.

Opening Sentence: The poet stood next to the bridge and watched as the young woman approached.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Gabriel’s Inferno is a very deceiving book. I was expecting an erotic romance or at least some kind of steamy romance. In an age with books being marketed towards the 50 Shades readers (I will state I haven’t read them yet.) and covers being redesigned to be more obscure I can understand why these books are placed with the more erotic products. I will also state that I think this book was a fluke, I imagine the other two books in the Gabriel’s Inferno series are probably more steamy and erotic after the events of this one.

I was really conflicted at the beginning of the novel. I couldn’t stand how terribly Gabriel treated Julianne (Julia). He was totally uncalled for and I really wanted to set the novel aside. Then also in the first chapter there was a huge chunk where the point of view was by a classmate of Julianne’s, Paul Norris who kept talking about how attractive she was, I just remember thinking that this book was supposed to be about Julia and Gabriel and not some guy named Paul. I powered through until Julia overhears Gabriel receiving the news that someone in his life died. Then when Julia gets the same call, I was hooked for a while. I really wanted to know how they knew this person but yet didn’t “seem” to know each other.

Julia and Gabriel have a past together that Gabriel is unaware of and it is kind of frustrating all in itself. This past really influences Julia’s present as a graduate student specializing in Dante, Gabriel’s specialty. Gabriel just didn’t piece it together, much to Julia’s dismay. Gabriel is a Professor at the University of Toronto where Julia is accepted into the graduate program. She was also accepted at Harvard but couldn’t afford it. Their attraction for each other is pretty much instantaneous (past & present) although Gabriel doesn’t quite understand why he doesn’t want to hurt the poor, nice girls feelings at first. Not to mention dating a student would ruin his career, but since he isn’t hurting for money, that isn’t too much of a problem.

Gabriel’s Inferno is basically a “courting” book. Gabriel courts Julia the entire book and this isn’t a short book at over 500 pages. The reason why…Gabriel and Julia have secrets. Secrets that are potentially devastating.  Once their feelings for each other are revealed, the next step in their relationship is to divulge the secrets that could end their relationship. Also, Julia is a big V and Gabriel has to make taking that away from her uber-super special, even planning out the big day.

Gabriel is crazy moody. He easily goes from hot to cold and back again. He thinks he is this dark creature who can’t have anything or anyone he wants. He is in a self-imposed prison. He has no problem sleeping with any woman he sees. Outwardly, Julia is this really nice, naïve and sweet girl, everyone thinks she is beautiful and she doesn’t see it. Inwardly, she does suffer from some really poor self-esteem. I felt that they did have some steamy interactions with each other but their respective moodiness kind of ruins the moment.

This novel is told in the third person and it is constantly jumping from person to person, even time jumping from one paragraph to another. It took a little bit for me to get used to but once I did I really didn’t have too much of a problem with it.

I’m just going to go on a stupid rant here…What do you think of books that bash something you really like? I am a pretty huge fan of Nine Inch Nails. I know a lot of people don’t like them but I like that type of music. This novel just bashed them left and right, including the fact that Trent Reznor really made the girl want to hurl. Yes, Gabriel stated that he liked Nine Inch Nails but that didn’t turn out too well in the end. I know this could have been any band, it just happened to be one that I really liked so much so that I had to listen to them while reading this novel. I’m going to try and pull a Taylor Swift and try to “Shake It Off”. Rant over.

Overall, this novel was a half & half for me. I enjoyed half of it. I didn’t enjoy the other half of it. It might not have been a problem if it wasn’t soooo long. The buildup just didn’t pay off in the end. I was not too thrilled with the climactic buildup and subsequent revelations. One of the characters terrible secret was so not a secret to me and that in itself was annoying. I just really can’t recommend this novel unless you are looking for something with a bit of steam, some moodiness and/or really like Dante and Italy.

Notable Scene:

“Beatrice.” He clasped her wrist, pulling her toward him. He shifted slightly on the bed to accommodate her, enveloping her in his arms as she rested her head on his naked chest. “I thought you’d forgotten me.”

“Never,” she choked out as the tears began to flow uncontrollably. “I thought of you every day.”

“Don’t cry. You found me.”

Gabriel closed his eyes and turned his head, his breathing beginning to regulate again. Julia lay very still, not wanting her sobs to disturb him, trying desperately not to shake the bed as she let her grief and relief wash over her. Tears travelled in small rivers down her pale cheeks and onto the expanse of tanned and tattooed skin that lay beneath her head.

Her Gabriel had remembered her. Her Gabriel had finally returned.

“Beatrice,” his arm tightened around her waist as he moved to whisper against her hair, still damp from the shower. “Don’t cry.” With his brilliant blue eyes closed, Gabriel pressed his lips to her forehead, once, twice, thrice.

“I missed you. So much,” she whispered, her lips moving against his tattoo.

“You found me,” he murmured. “I should have waited. I love you.”

Now Julia wept harder, clinging to him as if she were drowning and he was her savior. She kissed the skin of his chest lightly and ran her fingers up and down his abdomen.

In response, Gabriel’s fingertips traced the goose-pimpled flesh of her arms before slipping under the loose fabric of her T-shirt. He feathered his fingers across her skin until his hand finally stilled against her lower back. He sighed deeply and seemed to pass into his dreamland once again.

“I love you, Gabriel. So much it hurts,” she said, her hand coming to rest over his gently beating heart.

Gabriel’s Inferno Series:

1. Gabriel’s Inferno

2. Gabriel’s Rapture

3. Gabriel’s Redemption


FTC Advisory: Berkley/Penguin provided me with a copy of Gabriel’s Inferno. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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Event: Girls Gone Sci-Fi

March 26th, 2015 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Kaitlin under Event Tags: Claudia Gray, Jessica Brody, Jessica Khoury, Melissa Landers

So I went over to Mysterious Galaxy to go to a pretty big signing with four authors – it was supposed to be five, but unfortunately Debra Driz had to cancel. I already loved two authors there, Jessica Khoury and Melissa Landers, for Alienated and Origin (check them out, they’re amazing!) The others, Claudia Gray and Jessica Brody, I’ve heard amazing things about. Since so many people were very early, we started pretty early with a Q and A and talked about Claudia Gray’s new collaboration. Also, kapibaras in ballerina costumes and treadmills for puppies. And what’s the difference between poop and skat? Pretty odd topics — I know, you’re jealous you weren’t there.

The covers for all their books were all display. They are all absolutely gorgeous!


I thought it was pretty cool that each author introduced another and made it clear that they support one another, despite their inclusion with four different publishing houses.

There was an awesome game called Book Boyfriends where they had the boys from each novel answer questions and a member of the audience chose her favorite. They also had the audience choose random pages that they would read passages from, and let me say, each of these authors are very eloquent.

Random piece of info: the first thing Jessica Khoury did after getting her first book deal was paying off a 112 dollar library fee from renting out audiobooks.

After the authors pitched their books, I wanted to read everything. I ended up reading A Thousand Pieces of You since then, which was epic and full of plot twists. The idea of the dimensional travel and the firebird was so interesting and unique! I can’t wait for the second.

It was a fun experience and all the authors were very funny! I got lots of swag!


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Early Review: The Artisans by Julie Reece

March 25th, 2015 @ 3:00 am
Posted by Bridget under Review Tags: Julie Reece, Paranormal, Review, The Artisans, Young Adult

The ArtisansTitle: The Artisans

Author: Julie Reece

GenreYA Paranormal

Series: N/A

Publication Date: May 19, 2015

Format: Paperback, 344 Pages

ISBN-13: 978-0692337325 (Month 9 Books)

Reviewed by: Bridget


They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old RAVEN WEATHERSBY gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.

To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.

Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad’s drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.

But Raven’s stepdad’s drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she’s ever known out of jail, or worse.

Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries’ clothing line, signing over her creative rights.

Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can’t imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.

But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?

The Artisans is a delectably rich, layered and dark YA Southern Gothic inspired by Jeanne Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s classic Beauty and the Beast.

Quick & Dirty: A modern day Beauty and the Beast retelling with the perfect blend of romance, mystery, and suspense this is sure to be a great hit with all young adult paranormal fans.

Opening Sentence: The winter of two thousand nine brought influenza, taking twenty-seven souls from Colleton County, South Carolina.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Raven Weathersby grew up in a small town in South Carolina. She has always had a very artist heart and she expresses herself by designing clothes. Ever since she can remember she has always loved to create beautiful and original clothing. Her work can rival some of the best in the fashion industry. But four years ago her mother died and with it so did everything that was good in Raven’s life. Her stepfather started drinking himself into a stupor every night and gambles away everything they have.

Now it is Raven’s senior year and she does everything she can to make ends meet. They are just barely staying afloat then her stepfather has a run in with a very powerful and dangerous family. The Maddox’s are ruthless and expect their debts to be paid. Raven knows that her stepfather is in no condition to repay anything so she offers to take his place.

Arrogant yet gorgeous, Gideon Maddox will allow Raven to pay her father’s debt if she agrees to live at his home for a year and design a line of clothing for Maddox Industries. Raven wants nothing more than to refuse his offer, but she knows that she really doesn’t have any other choice if she wants to save her father’s life. The more time Raven spends at Maddox’s manor the more she realizes that not everything is as it seems and that Gideon might not be the cold hearted man she thought he was.

Raven is a great character with a unique voice. She has had a hard life, especially since her mother died, but what I love best about her is that she doesn’t complain about it. She accepts it and has done everything she can to make it better for her and those that she loves. She doesn’t love easily, but once you are someone she cares about she will do almost anything for you. She is strong and creative. I love her sense of fashion and attitude. Even though she doesn’t have a lot, she doesn’t let other people push her around or intimidate her. She was an easy character to love and connect with.  Watching her grow as a character made me admire her and I am glad I got to read her story.

Gideon or better known as Jack throughout the book, is one of my favorite things in the story. He is a very intense person with a very dominating personality. With his good looks, money, and charming personality he is used to getting what he wants. But underneath that entire facade there is a broken boy with a mysterious story. I instantly was drawn to Jack and I found that the more I got to know him the more I grew to love his character.  He has a lot of depth to him and he has kept a lot of things about himself hidden for good reasons. His relationship with Raven is adorable and even though he can come across as a jerk he is actually a very caring person. He is a swoon worthy boy and I easily fell in love with him.

The Artisans was a unique modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast filled with mystery, romance and wonderful characters. From the first page I was completely lost in the wonderful setting that Reece created. There were a few times that the pacing felt a little off, which caused the story to lag a little bit, but I still found that I had a hard time putting the book down. With suspense and mystery running high throughout the story, I was very intrigued to see what was going to happen next. For the most part the plot is fairly predictable, but Reece threw in a few unexpected twists that made it interesting and kept me guessing. There is a lot that is going on in the story and there were a few times that I felt things got a little confusing, but for the most part everything comes together nicely in the end. Probably my favorite thing about the book was that it was set in modern day but had a Victorian steampunk feel to it. Raven is into Victorian and Gothic fashion, which I just loved and some of the characters mannerisms made it feel like they were from this time period as well. While I loved this part of the book, it also made some of the more modern day moments seem slightly out of place at times. I will admit that I am being a little nitpicky about some of the things I have criticized in this story because when you read as much as I do it is hard to not be. But I don’t want anything I have said in any way deter you from reading this book because it is a great story that I enjoyed immensely. I would highly recommend this to anyone that likes modern day retellings or just a great romance story with a paranormal twist.

Notable Scene:

“Sadly, no, I cannot take credit for your stunning sleepwear ensemble. Though dressing you does sound like fun. You were wearing that at midnight when you climbed into bed with me.”

What? Shit. “I did no such thing!”

“You did, snuggled right up next to me.” The grin fades to that tantalizing half smile he owns, wicked and super-hot. “Every guy’s dream actually, waking up to a beautiful girl in his bed. Imagine my shock—and disappointment—upon the realization you had no idea what you were doing. Of course, it also occurred to me you planned to slit my throat as I slept.” I gasp, and he chuckles. “I’ve heard it’s dangerous to wake a sleepwalker. I thought you’d break your neck on the stairs, jump out a window, cook and eat your cat. Tsk, tsk, tsk.” He shakes his head.

“Can’t have that now, can we?”


FTC Advisory: Month 9 Books provided me with a copy of The Artisans.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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